Dealing with OSHA can be extremely taxing on you and your company if you do not address citations in a timely manner. It is extremely important to understand what steps you need to take and the timeframe that you have for action. HB NEXT’s legal counsel, Andrew Gross, discusses all the necessary steps companies need to take when confronting the possibility of an OSHA citation.
“OSHA Citations must be addressed as soon as received in order to determine and engage effective defense preparations. If you’ve done your homework, prepared properly, and assembled supporting records, OSHA can and will withdraw the Citation at the Informal Conference in the Area Office that issued the Citation. If withdrawn, there won’t be any need to file a Contest and incur the additional expense and risk of litigation.
Citations must be resolved by settlement or contested in writing within 15 business days of receipt. In states where OSHA standards are enforced by a state agency, there are similar short timetables. These deadlines are absolute and can almost never be modified.
Better still, don’t wait for a citation to appear in the mail. When you learn that OSHA has inspected your jobsite, begin your own investigation immediately. Promptly determine whether the facts support a citation, and if so, whether you may have a valid defense. The time to get the facts is while they are still fresh in everyone’s mind. HB NEXT can help assess your situation and assist in planning an appropriate defense in anticipation of a citation.
Don’t forget to take immediate corrective and enforcement action, if indeed you determine that employees were exposed to a hazard. Employees or subcontractors who violated Company rules should be disciplined in accordance with Company discipline policies. If all else fails and there is no likely defense, proactive remediation and enforcement of your safety policy shows good faith and can reduce the penalty.”